Casper Ruud helps Norway take 2-0 lead over Uzbekistan in Davis Cup

LONDON -- Casper Ruud's Davis Cup debut as a top-10 player resulted in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Khumoyun Sultanov on Friday, helping Norway take a 2-0 lead over visiting Uzbekistan in the World Group I playoffs.

The 22-year-old Ruud -- whose father, Christian, played for Norway's Davis Cup team with current captain Anders Haseth -- became the country's first player in the ATP top 10 when he rose one spot from 11th on Monday. After Ruud's win began the best-of-five-match series on an indoor hard court in Oslo, Viktor Durasovic beat Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-4 for the hosts.

Norway is in the World Group playoffs for the first time since 1995.

In other results Friday, South Korea took a 2-0 lead against New Zealand in Newport, Rhode Island, Chile and host Slovakia were tied 1-1, Finland led visiting India 2-0, and Peru and Bosnia and Herzegovina were tied 1-1 in Lima.

There are 12 World Group I matchups in this playoff round, two of which were contested in March, with Japan beating Pakistan 4-0 and Ukraine defeating Israel 3-2. Of the others, five begin Saturday: Bolivia vs. Belgium in Paraguay, Belarus at Argentina, Brazil at Lebanon, Netherlands at Uruguay and Portugal at Romania.

As part of the move from an 18-team Davis Cup Finals to a 16-team event next year, only the eight highest-ranked winning countries from this round will participate in the 2022 qualification matches. The other four will play World Group I elimination matches in November, with the two winners advancing to 2022 qualifiers.

The 12 losing countries in this round will go back into the World Group I playoffs for 2022 in hopes of getting into the qualifying system for the following year.

There are also World Group II matchups this weekend, giving countries a chance to advance to the World Group I playoffs next year.

That includes South Africa against Venezuela, a matchup being played at Forest Hills Stadium in New York, the former site of the US Open that is hosting Davis Cup competition for the first time since 1959.